“Now we’ve created and implemented a plastic-free bag, we won’t be going back.”
One of the UK’s biggest tea brands is set to launch what it claims is the world’s first plastic-free, non-GM and unbleached heat-sealed teabag made from bananas. The problem of plastic pollution in the world’s seas and oceans has forced companies and governments to do things differently. This concern has also led to an increasing demand for alternatives to plastics.
A number of leading tea brands use polypropylene, a sealing plastic, to fasten teabags and ensure that they hold their shape. However, to tackle the issue of plastic waste, Clipper Teas has developed a new product designed specifically to help cut down on plastic pollution – a plastic-free, unbleached and non-genetically modified tea bag, which it claims to be a world first.
In a statement, it has moved all its production to a new type of tea bag that, instead of the plastic polypropylene seal, will use natural plant-based materials.
The tea bags will be produced at Clipper Teas’ (@clipperteas) Dorset-based tea factory using a combination of abaca, which is made for a species of banana plant, and a biopolymer made from a non-GM plant material also known as PLA.
The teabags are also biodegradable and compostable, which means that can be put into household food waste bins.
According to the UK Tea and Infusions Association, Brits drink around 165 million cups daily or 60.2 billion per year.
Emma Vass, CEO at Clipper Teas’ brand owner Wessanen UK, said that the brand believed in making ethical and sustainable choices and want to provide the best products for both “our consumers and the world we live in”.
She added: “Having worked tirelessly to find a completely natural, non-GM solution, it is fantastic to see the new tea bags now in full production. As a brand, Clipper is all about the joy that comes with each and every cup of tea – and we believe the purest joy comes with a clear conscience.”
Rebecca Vercoe, Clipper Teas brand controller at Wessanen UK, explained: “Guided by our founding principles of natural, fair and delicious, we have always strived to do the best we can for people and the planet. Now we’ve created and implemented a plastic-free bag, we won’t be going back.”
According to the European Commission (EC), every year, Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste, but less than 30% is collected for recycling. Across the world, plastics make up 85% of beach litter. And plastics are even reaching citizens' lungs and dinner tables, with microplastics in air, water and food having an unknown impact on their health.
Speaking earlier this year, Frans Timmermans, the EC’s vice-president responsible for sustainable development, said: “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050.”
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